Garden Centers: Get Your Customers Involved

The recent insolvency of the German hardware store chain Praktiker showed that price dumping doesn’t guarantee success. Customers want to be connected and involved with the products a store wants to sell. This goes especially for garden centers. One possibility of connecting with people is through food. Everything that has to do with cooking, be it shows on TV, cookbooks or kitchen supplies, is more popular than ever nowadays. Why not creating the same enthusiasm for growing your own healthy and fresh food in the garden?

The professional horticulturist and business consultant Leslie Halleck collected some useful ideas on how to accomplish that. In her article for Garden Center Magazine Real foodies grow their own she gives answers on how to get customers involved and excited about gardening through different ways of education.

Waitrose Supermarkets Introduce Welcome Desks for Online Customers

The British supermarket chain Waitrose is planning a substantial change for their retail stores. As more and more people buy online, rather than shopping around, the supermarket intends to adapt to this new behavior. Concierge-style service desks will allow customers to make online orders, collect products bought over the internet and have their flowers and gifts wrapped. There will also be dry cleaning services.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said that “by offering these new branch hubs, we will enhance the customer experience even further by providing greater convenience and even more personalized services.” All desks will include tablet computers that customers can use to make orders for Waitrose and their sister company John Lewis.

This year one hundred Waitrose supermarkets will be equipped with the new desks, the rest of the stores will follow within the next year.

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Online Customers Want to be Inspired

A German study sponsored by IBM and the CoreMedia Corporation has asked one thousand internet users why they switch between online and offline shopping and what would keep them connected to one multi-channel-system. The study focused on early adopter customers.

They found out that it isn’t only the price that takes customers to go offline shopping but also that the whole shopping experience creates emotions which attracts them better to the products. 60 % of the early adopters said that they would shop more online if the experience as such would be better and even 80 % of all persons asked said that an attractive presentation of the product range is a basic requirement for buying online. A plain listing of the product range in an online shop is no longer sufficient for most of the customers.

According to the study, one way of presenting a better experience is to create unified theme worlds offering the customers a comprehensive shopping experience – online and offline.

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Germany: 42.3 million people shop online

In Germany, some 42.3 million people bought or ordered goods or services for private use over the internet in 2012.

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that this corresponds to 74% of all internet users older than ten. Accordingly, the proportion of internet users shopping online has risen by 8% or 8.8 million since 2007.

About 14% of the German Onlineshoppers use the web also for purchases in other countries of the European Union. 8% even order goods from outside EU (e.g. US, China or Switzerland).

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